By: Shehu Bashir Esq
There can never been a more challenging dilemma than such a time in your life when there is such an intervening variable which tries to test your swing of commitment between your spiritual faithfulness and matrimonial loyalty. As a matter of fact, a staunch loyalty to matrimonial vows is part of spiritual commandment which partners in the union are expected to adhere to.
You may never be able to assertively understand or analyze such dilemma unless you are the “beautiful bride” in between the dragging tripod. Yeye Asiwaju, Senator Oluremi Tinubu went through this test with a fulfilling testimony to relish.
The 2023 presidential election has come and gone but it left a relic of sapping mental nostalgia in the mind of a jewel that many might have taken for granted. While the campaigns lasted, many people did not take note of a particular Amazon, the bastion of Asiwaju’s home, who was caught in a web of loyalty test of faith by the circumstance she did not create, or, expect to go the way it went and as far as it went.
While most people focused on the euphoria of the campaign, the fanfare, glamour, rigour and fancies, something caught my attention even before the presidential primary election. Sooner after the primary, I began to notice the apprehension in this Amazon who though was looking forward to a perfect selection of Vice Presidential candidate for her darling husband. It must have been the toughest period of her life.
No sooner that the decision to nominate Senator Kashim Shettima as VP was made public than the apprehension turned into a full blown tension. The burden of “favour balancing” was literally placed on her light heart. She was unwittingly made to write an exam for a test she did not study for. She did not atleast expect that the contributions she and her husband had made to the House of the Lord, the very many brethren in the Lord that she and her husband had helped would be the ones to lead the fight against her husband’s political ambition. The trauma, I assume must have been too tormenting for her. Yet, she drove on.
Yeye Asiwaju has been married to Asiwaju Tinubu for about forty years. They have built a happy family together through thick and thin, and it couldn’t have been all rosy all through. The family’s root of indivisibility must have gone so deep into the ground for any attempt to succeed in creating disaffection between them on the basis of their faith. Probably until Asiwaju became more politically prominent, I doubt if there was anyone who ever knew that the partners practiced different religion and yet, they still maintain such adorably glowing marriage.
Let’s be clear about something, forty years of a relationship is too much in the life of any partnership for them to throw it away in the face of emotional blackmail and bias backlash for a mere political decision taken by a member of the union. Not even the loftiness of the desired office can come in between them.
It is an established fact that Senator Oluremi Tinubu is a renown Pastor in unarguably the biggest Church in Nigeria. She is not just a Pastor, but also a Deaconess. Her position on the stool of spirituality is sanctified with consecrated ordainment, no doubt. It is expected that when she ministers, the congregation should chorus in obeisance. But unfortunately, this was not the case, she was let down by the sanctuary she expected so much from.
Nomination of Shettima which made the APC Presidential ticket Muslim-Muslim didn’t happen without a war. It was as if rapture was here. As the war of religious supremacy raged (and still raging), opinions were flying all over the place with the helpless Yeye Tinubu caught in between the sea and the ocean. Her service to the House of the Lord was not considered before some of her own brothers and sisters in the Lord pounced on her husband mercilessly, the only man she has ever loved. The world appeared to be crumbling on her head as she tried to quietly balance the scale of loyalty. She has a husband to stand firmly by regardless of any frustration and she has her religion to proclaim without stigmatization. It must have been tough for her.
All the attacks on her husband must have been hitting and hurting her more, yet, she remained calm, hopeful, faithful and resilient. Her comportment to be able to withstand those attacks will be another topic of study. She surprised many people by refusing to be provoked into public anger, to lash out at those betraying her husband. She would be right to react in that manner, but yet, she remained calm. She was extremely patient and tolerant.
CAN literally forgot that Asiwaju’s wife is a Deaconess, they forsook her and left her in the cold when she truly needed them most, if not anything, atleast, for them to remain neutral. They almost set her up into renouncing Christianity same as they almost did for Asiwaju to renounce Islam so that they can use that against her husband to score political pints, but Yeye remained smartly tacit. Ironically when the roof of comfort was taken off her shelter by the people she worshipped (and still worshipping) with for years in the House of the Lord, the Muslim Community rallied around her and gave her family all the supports they needed. The Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria, FOMWAN, has been particularly wonderful. They publicly announced their supports for Asiwaju’s ambition, the APC candidate in Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, who is equally a Redeemer christian. It is such a pleasant irony at a time the Christian Body was still conspiring to work against APC candidate in Lagos. Indeed, which of the mercies of her Lord will she deny?
God is the only One Who determines the course of man. He grants wisdom to man on how to handle complex and complicated situations. Indeed, God did not grant less the required wisdom to Senator Tinubu to handle the delicate situation. Many have expected that Yeye would come out to either verbally defend her husband against the religious attacks or even condemn the fanaticism of those trying to crucify her husband for such mere politically calculative decision. The dilemma must have been agonizing. But God who grants wisdom did not goad her to making a single comment regarding this religious polarity. She merely faced the campaign and addressed the main political issues as it would help the campaign.
While Yeye Tinubu was moving from North to South to campaign for her husband, exhibiting absolute control of her emotions and holding on to her fate, a discerning eye could not have seen less the anxiety on her face. Everything on her face and in her mind was the focus on the success of her husband. On more than three occasions that I met her on the campaign train, she was indeed the unseen hand of Asiwaju’s composure.
I watched with “sympathy” the narration given by our incoming First Lady during one of her press conferences, where she was explaining the compassionate nature of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Before then, many people had thought Asiwaju has such financial opulence bigger than the mountains. However, Yeye was very succinct in explaining how Asiwaju gives out almost anything in alms, even more than what he has for himself. Who could have imagined that Yeye herself would be “struggling” to raise a paltry two million naira for a campaign trip?.
When Asiwaju was giving his acceptance speech after he was declared winner of the 2023 presidential election by INEC, the President-elect expressly and profoundly thanked his wife, Yeye Tinubu on her “iroko” support over the years. The tone in which Asiwaju used in expressing that gratitude couldn’t have carried enough the deepest heartfelt appreciation of the First Lady incoming. It was a fulfilment smile on the face of Yeye to the glory of God.
Religion worship should ordinarily be a private convenant between man and his Creator, but because, we as a people like to give credence to Karl Marx’s theory that “religion is the opium of the people”, we adopt it, practice it as though we are Ministers in God’s cabinet. Otherwise, Yeye did not deserve the trauma of dilemma the congregation made her go through. Like Asiwaju once said, it’s good to use diplomacy but there are times we have to be frank to tell ourselves the truth – the truth is Yeye has contributed so much to her religion than to be so treated the way she was treated.
Notwithstanding what she went through, Yeye Oluremi Tinubu will forever serve as a reference point of faithfulness to many women out there, who might be faced with tribulations in the face of hopelessness, confusion, neglect, conspiracy and dilemma. She will forever serve as a motivation for young ladies who would need to learn about the rudiments of fidelity for a successful marriage. She has successfully combined the responsibility of a wife, a clergy and a politician at the same time in the most difficult circumstances. She passed the test of faithfulness astoundingly. No matter what anyone would say, she has successfully swum this mucky waters and she has come out clean.
I am a little bit “an insider” now to understand clearly that all the negative nonsense some cynics are saying outside about Yeye and the family are fallacious and untrue. Remi is indeed a great home manager and a decent one at that. She is the true Hauwa of Asiwaju’s home, the pillar of support that Asiwaju has been banking on. I have been married myself long enough to understand the importance of having a supportive wife, especially in trial times. Asiwaju has a bastion in Oluremi Tinubu.
There is always a time in the life of a man when we query our essence and the purpose of our existence – what we are existing for, where we are coming from, where we are going when we exit this world and what happens to us when we get there. Beyond the worldly craving, I am of the opinion that this is one of the basic reasons behind anyone’s affiliation to a religion. If that contemplation is left for Yeye to mull, it is easy to predict that Yeye Oluremi Tinubu will rather remain faithful to her husband and go anywhere he goes to worship the Lord he believes in instead of associating with those who did not remember her role as a prominent member of the highest temple when she needed them most. They made it clear to her that “they dont care” about whatever befalls her, her darling husband and her entire family. Indeed, if only it is the wish of Allah, nothing should stop Yeye Tinubu from learning how to perform ablution and willingly agreeing to join her husband in facing the Qibla five times a day, henceforth, moving forward. If not for anything, atleast, to show gratitude to Allah, her Creator for not allowing her enemies gloat her. Qur’an Chapter 55 Verses 1 to 78 will make a good read for a good starting point. Which of the mercies of Allah would she deny?.